June 24, 2010

Gordon Hayward Drafted Ninth By The Utah Jazz

Butler forward Gordon Hayward capped an amazing year of achievement by becoming the highest draft pick in school history at the 2010 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft in New York on Thursday (June 24).  Hayward, who led Butler to the NCAA Final Four, was selected ninth in the draft by the Utah Jazz.

Hayward, who declared for the NBA draft following Butler’s run to the Final Four in April, is the eighth Butler player to be drafted by the NBA, but the first under the current system to be chosen in the first round.  Butler’s previous highest-drafted players were Jeff Blue (Boston, 1964) and Oscar Evans (Atlanta, 1972), both chosen in the eighth round.

Hayward also becomes the seventh Horizon League player to be chosen in the first round and the second-highest league pick ever!  Brian Grant of Xavier was taken at the No. 8 spot by Sacramento in 1994.  The last Horizon League player to be taken in the first round was Wright State’s Vitaly Potapenko, who was selected No. 12 by Cleveland in 1996.

“We’re really happy and excited for Gordon as he starts his NBA career with Utah,” said Butler head coach Brad Stevens.  “He’s worked very hard for this opportunity.  The Butler family is proud of him.”

Hayward’s draft selection came at the end of a 12-month period that saw the Butler sophomore compile an incredible list of achievements.  During the summer of 2009, he helped lead the U.S. national team to the gold medal at the U19 World Championship in New Zealand, where he was chosen to the Best of the Best Team.  He then led the Bulldogs to a school-record 33-5 season, Horizon League regular season and tournament championships, a West Regional championship in the NCAA Tournament and Butler’s first appearance in the NCAA Final Four.  The Bulldogs finished as the national runner-up and ended the 2009-10 season with a No. 2 rank in the final ESPN/USA Today national poll.

Butler’s leading scorer (15.5 ppg) and rebounder (8.2 rpg), Hayward was named Horizon League Player of the Year, and he was chosen first team All-League for the second consecutive year.  He was named the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA West Regional, and he was chosen to the All-Tournament Teams at the Horizon League Championship and the NCAA Final Four.  The second-year Butler player also was selected to the third team of the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America squad.

With Utah, Hayward will be returning to the site of two of his best collegiate performances.  He scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed five rebounds in Butler’s NCAA Tournament upset of top-seeded Syracuse and then came back with game-highs of 22 points and nine rebounds in the Bulldogs’ upset of No. 2-seeded Kansas State for the NCAA West Regional title.  Both games were played in EnergySolutions Arena, the home arena of the Utah Jazz.

Hayward averaged 14.4 points and 7.4 rebounds during his two seasons with the Bulldogs.  He started 69 of 70 games during his career, missing one game because of injury.